Tampa community fights for tenants’ rights in city council meeting
Tampa, FL – Over 50 Tampa community members attended their city council meeting May 26 to demand immediate action to address the housing crisis. People’s Council Tampa and Florida Rising mobilized to demand more funding for rental assistance, right to counsel for tenants, a landlord registry, and an office of tenant advocacy that would help tenants with legal issues around their leases or landlord.
Over 20 people spoke in the public comment period, many of whom also spoke at the February 24 city council meeting. Tampa residents voiced their frustration at the lack of action in the past three months while the rent crisis hurts senior citizens and disabled people. Residents of Madison Heights Apartments in particular spoke of rent increases in the middle of their leases and three-day eviction notices. The message was clear: What was the city council going to do about it?
“This housing crisis has devastated people’s lives. It’s good to see people using that anger to push for real, concrete demands,” said Simon Rowe, member of Tampa Bay Community Action Committee.
The Tampa city council filed a motion to investigate establishing a Tenant Advocacy Office in Tampa mirroring the one recently created in Miami. Councilmember Lynn Hurtak proposed an amendment to investigate the creation of a landlord registry, which would make it easier to document landlord interactions for complaints. The motion and its amendment passed unanimously. The city council will meet June 16 to discuss implementing the Tenant Advocacy Office and the landlord registry. The Tampa community will attend once again to make sure the city council follows through with meeting the community’s demands.